Photo courtesy of Kevin Walsh (flickr)
When it comes to joining and then posting to Facebook, many people don’t give it a second thought.
I believe that most people think “Wow, here’s a great way to get my awesome thoughts out on the internet. So many people think I’m hilarious and upbeat – I can’t wait for so many people to respond to my awesomeness.”
Well, maybe not quite that but something along those lines. They post because they want others to notice they are posting. I’m here and I have something to say.
Unfortunately, they may say something positive and get a little response but then they experiment with negativity or a rant and they get a lot of response.
Or they post something racy and get a lot of response. But is this response what you really want others to think of you?
Facebook, like every digital social network, is building a digital image of yourself. You determine that image just like you do with your actions in the real world.
Like what you do, what you say, who you associate with, what your job is, where you go to church or if you go at all. All these things tell others about you.
So don’t count Facebook out of this. You will project an image no matter what you do – it can be viewed in a positive light or a negative one. That’s up to you.
Farmers have a great reputation with the masses.
They see you as hardworking, trustworthy, friendly – some of the best of what America has to offer. Why do you think that Dodge spent that much money on a Super Bowl ad associating their trucks with the American Farmer?
Check out the Dodge ad and the following Gallup Poll. It was a smart move and a great ad, by the way. Don’t know if it sold more trucks for them.
Courtesy of Gallup
So why am I saying all of this?
Because I want you to be careful about your digital reputation – you, as the individual farmer, represent all farmers online. That’s why I think that maintaining that reputation of your name and the name of all other farmers is above all the mission.
So when posting to your Facebook profile, here are my tips for maintaining that solid reputation of being helpful, hardworking, smart and true to your families, animals and land.
1. Be positive and uplifting.
Posts should be helpful and realistic. I’m not talking about only posting Biblical or inspirational quotes. I’m talking about if something happens – even if it’s not something that you are happy about – put it in the context of how this could benefit my friends. Rants rarely benefit anyone and can sometimes cause more damage.
TIP – If you have to rant, go ahead and do it. Do it where it’s not going to be seen by the masses (like a word doc) and let yourself vent. Then sit on it for a while. Think about who is really going to benefit from this and who’s it going to hurt. If you really think you need to post it, send it to a good friend first to see what they think.
2. Don’t argue with others.
This is my only “don’t” in my tips. I have a post about how to win an argument that you should read if you think you really need to go to battle with someone online. It’s just three simple steps.
3. Know what your friends on Facebook like to see and tie that to what you would like them to know about you.
How do you do this? Well, most likely your friends are a lot like you in what they like to share, comment on and like.
So when I create something, I look at it and think “would I share this?” If it’s something I don’t think I would share, then I start over. BTW, not everything you do will get people to respond. Just keep trying. The good thing is that farmers have a lot of content just hanging around the barn that people find pretty dang interesting.
4. Help others.
Help others with what?
The questions they have about farming, the food you produce, how the animals are doing, what farm like is really like.
They seriously want to know and you can tell them via stories, photos, videos, etc…
If you say that “no one asks you questions”, I’ll find that hard to believe. It doesn’t seem to matter where I go people have questions about farming (like I could answer them – I don’t but I send them to farmers that can) and what’s it like to work with dairy farmers (pretty awesome in my opinion).
Another help is recipes.
I don’t post a lot of recipes but many people do and they get great responses from the recipes of simple home cooked meals using the great products you produce like cheese, milk, butter, ice cream and yogurt.
If you are struggling to find things to talk about, join some groups and listen to their conversations. They can help you find what they need answers to and how you can join the conversation.
5. Always be interesting.
How can you be interesting? There are tons of good ways using the new digital tools at your disposal.
Use photos – use your smartphone to take farm life photos. People love to share them and talk about the animals or the farmscapes.
TIP – if you want a lot of comments or shares on your photos, ask people to give you a caption for the photo or let them fill in the blank (it’s hard to resist filling in a blank – people like being clever).
Use videos – use your smartphone to take YouTube videos, a Vine and Instagram. Same as the top part
Just take a few seconds to give us a status update of what’s going on on the farm – you’ve been given the statistics of how many people are NOT involved in agriculture. Now you can share your view of the farm and life on it.
6. Give credit to others.
Share what others have posted. Comment on their posts. Liking is fine but it’s not going to help pass along a post to others.
When you pass along other’s information, they know it. They appreciate it and hopefully they will pass along your posts in the future. It doesn’t always happen but the golden rule can be very effective in social media because we are notified when people play by it.
7. Use hashtags.
If you would like to meet new people in Facebook or get your postings seen by others besides your immediate circle of friends and friends of friends. Using them might seem a little weird but it’s still new. You can also follow other people’s hashtags.
So what are some of your favorite tips for posting?